No legal rights for consumer DRM

Written by Wil Harris

September 26, 2006 // 12:19 a.m.

Tags: #drm #idf #intel

Phil Wennblom, from Intel's Standards and Regulations group, has been talking about the standards and policy discussions Intel is involved in.

Part of Intel's work is in working with content protection standards. When looking at content protection, Phil told the audience that Intel operates with the following principles:
  • Intel respects IP rights and the rights of copyright holders
  • Intel is working to create a protected digital environment
  • Content solutions should enable flexible media experiences that balance consumer expectations and rights holder interests
  • Markets, not mandates, deliver consumer satisfaction
That's all great. Notice what is missing? A commitment to respect the legal rights of consumers with regards to the content they purchase and own.

Current DRM standards restrict what can be done with content beyond the legal requirement, thus preventing end users from doing what they are legally entitled to do with content they own. Whilst Intel recognises IP rights, it doesn't necessarily recognise the right of the public to make legal fair use of those IP rights.

Instead, Intel believes that the market will deliver consumer satisfaction through consumer expectations. Guess what? Consumer expectations can be altered fairly easily by simply depriving and manipulating choice. The law doesn't allow that kind of roughshod maneuvering.

Why won't Intel push for regulation and legal compliance for DRM technology to enable a better consumer experience within the legal framework that already exists?

I asked Phil to clarify his statement and explain why legal protection for consumers isn't required.

"There needs to be a balance between the rights of consumers so that they can exercise their legal rights, and the developers and owners of those content. We didn't intend to emphasise one over the other. We don't believe you need a legal mandate to do that."

In other words, Intel is confident in its ability to perpetuate DRM that is fair to consumers without requiring that existing legal standards are adhered to. Notice the interesting slip of the tongue - the rights of consumers and the rights of 'owners' of the content. We guess that consumers don't get to own content any more, eh?

DRM rants in the usual place, please.
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